Archive for » November, 2012 «

Western Australia jobless rate at 2 year high

Given the continuing resource sector boom and the clamour for skilled migrants in WA, the latest unemployment stats for WA are somewhat surprising.

The rate has increased from 4.0% to 4.6% in October, with 8300 new people added to the jobless list,  rocketing the state’s unemployment rate to its highest level in 2 years.

There are now 63,100 people looking for work in WA, including 30,400 women and 32,700 men.

While the unemployment rate has not been higher since October 2010, the actual number of people looking for work is the highest since March 2010.

The unemployement rate jump follows decisions by several large resource sector companies to make hundreds of positions redundant.

Fortescue Metals Group axed 1000 jobs in September, while BHP Billiton also has cut hundreds of positions and delayed a large project.

WA has been the only state to continuously record a low unemployment rate this year and while it added tens of thousands of jobs during 2011-12, the rest of the nation collectively lost a similar amount.

However, today’s latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed a turning of the tide.

More than 10,000 new jobswere added nationally in October in a signal that recent weakness in the national labour market may be stabilising.

National unemployment remained at 5.4 per cent, the same level it reached in September, as the jobs market bucked expectations of a further rise in the rate.

The economy added 18,700 jobs full-time for the month, well ahead of expectations, but lost 8000 part time jobs, with a net gain of 10,700 jobs. But the participation rate also fell as some job seekers gave up looking for work, helping to cap any rise in the official jobless rate.

Australian visa application charges set to rise

The Australian government is proposing to increase the Visa Application Charges (VAC) for several visa subclasses that provide permission to work and are in high demand according to the government’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook. If approved, the new fees would take effect on January 1, 2013.

The proposed changes to visa charges are as follows:

  • Subclass 457 (Temporary Business (Long Stay)) currently AU$350  Proposed VAC AU$455
  • Skilled Graduate visas currently AU$315  Proposed VAC AU$1,260
  • Working Holiday visa currently AU$280  Proposed VAC AU$360
  • Partner visas (for applications filed from within Australia) currently AU$3,060  Proposed VAC AU$4,000
    Partner Visas (for applications filed abroad) currently AU$2060  Proposed VAC Aprox AU$2,700
Australian govt simplifies temporary work visas

The government will make it simpler for people to apply for a specialist temporary work visa, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, announced last week.

‘The government is delivering on a pledge to simplify the application process by halving the number of specialist temporary work visa subclasses from 17 to eight,’ Mr Bowen said.

‘On 24 November, we will roll out a simplified specialist temporary work visa framework as part of the Government’s Better Regulation Ministerial Partnership: Simpler Visas.

‘This initiative seeks to make it easier for people to understand and engage with Australia’s visa requirements.’

‘Criteria across these visas have been standardised to provide a more consistent approach to requirements to reduce unnecessary complexity for applicants and decision makers.

‘People eligible for entry under current arrangements will remain so under the simplified specialist temporary work visa framework.

Specialist temporary work visas include religious workers, diplomats, visiting academics and entertainers.

The 457 visa program will be unaffected by the changes.

The Skilled and Business Migration program has been simplified under skilled migration visa reforms, including the introduction of SkillSelect, a consolidated skilled occupations list, and a reduction from 28 to 11 visa subclasses.

The government also plans to halve the total number of visa subclasses by 2015, having already reduced the number of work and skilled visa subclasses by 58 per cent this year.

Good news for potential migrants to Australia who have a disability

The government will act to ensure a fairer, more flexible and individualised approach to people wanting to migrate to Australia who have a disability or health issues, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, announced last week.

‘The government will now take into account all of the circumstances when assessing prospective visa applicants against the visa health requirement,’ Mr Bowen said.

‘A ‘net benefit’ approach will allow decision makers to consider the social and economic benefits an applicant and their family bring to Australia compared to the cost of their health care.

‘This will mean an individual’s health costs can be offset by the benefit their family will bring to Australian society.’

From 1 July, the government proposes to increase the Significant Cost Threshold – the level at which an applicant’s health costs are considered to result in significant health care and community service costs – from $21 000 to $35 000.

The government will also streamline health waivers for offshore humanitarian applicants who fail to meet the health requirement on cost grounds, bringing the offshore policy into line with onshore arrangements.

In order to maintain Australia’s health standards, people who want to migrate permanently to Australia must satisfy the health requirement.

‘Of course, the government’s priority is the protection of public health so we will continue to apply rigorous and consistent health screening procedures,’ Mr Bowen said.

‘People who are considered to pose a significant health risk to the community will not be granted a visa.’

Mr Bowen will consult on the detailed implementation of the reforms with key stakeholders in coming weeks.

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International Money Transfers made easy

Using an international money transfer company can ensure you receive the best exchange rate. John Kinghorn from Moneycorp explains more.

moneycorpIf you are sending money to or from Australia, there are some useful tips below to ensure you are getting the most for your money.

Exchange rate

The exchange rate you are offered by a bank is likely to be wildly different compared with that from a foreign exchange specialist company. A specialist company, such as Moneycorp, can offer better rates of exchange than a bank by typically up to 3-4% – that equals a saving of £30-£40 on a money transfer of £1,000.

Expert guidance

Exchange rates are continuously moving. This factor is critical, as due to the rate fluctuations, this will affect the amount of foreign currency which ends up in your overseas bank account.

Your bank will generally offer little or no guidance when transferring your money overseas. Conversely, a specialist money transfer company provides free, expert guidance helping you to take advantage when exchange rates are in your favour.

Fees and charges

High street banks typically charge between £20-40 per money transfer, so if you are making regular overseas payments like paying for a mortgage abroad, you could be paying up to £480 a year on fees alone. By using a foreign exchange specialist company you would typically make a huge saving on these fees alone.

Moneycorp run a special offer for Poms in Oz members where transfer fees are waived on all transactions – click here to find out more.

Whether you’re making regular international payments, or simply need to make a one-off money transfer, the exchange rates you get and the transfer fees you pay can make a big difference to the amount of money you will end up with.

Register for free with Moneycorp by clicking here

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